« Halloween | Main | Pat and Kyle »

September 22, 2005

Car accident (another reason to get out of CT/tri-state area)

I would just like to say, to start this off, that I never appreciated New Jersey being part of the tri-state area. It truly is a blemish on the way to the D.C. and the South.

Today I got into a car accident. I went to have lunch with my uncle in the city and talk about "stuff," "stuff" implying the whole "gay issue" with my family. It took me three fucking hours to get back from Manhattan to Fairfield. It should've been one hour, an hour and fifteen tops.

As I'm about to get on the Hutch (Rt. 15/Merritt Parkway) this navy blue van slowly careens into me. We both pull over and these two big latino men (this might degrade into a rant of being a white girl abused by minorities who do not play fair, creating a hostile environment and making it hard and while I understand as a human being, I don't appreciate it considering my high standard social morals) get out of the van and basically surround my car in a pretty menacing manner. They come over to my window (I didn't have my shoes on, so while they're getting out I'm struggling to find/put on my shoes) and start saying, "Look what you've done! Look what you've done!" Ok. I'm feeling kinda guilty. So I get out to see what's happened and it's a vanity mark /maybe/ an actual dent. I'm feeling a bit shitty, but they immediately exclaim, "Give us 200 dollars and we'll can get this fixed. Our boss will be so angry with us, it is all your fault, give us 200 dollars."

This makes me a bit wary, as I'm not about to just fork over 200 bucks to two big guys in an unmarked van that is already beat up with no sign that exclaims their business, nor any official looking outfits (crappy jeans and wifebeaters). Especially because if this is a commercial business (it was a commercial plate, but god knows where they got it from), I'm not going to hand over 200 dollars to the employees, but I am going to talk to the employer and go through insurance (this is the whole point of insurance). Then they start blaming me for this huge gash on the bottom of the van. I could see where the mark was from on their van and on my car, as it had been my sideview mirror running along their van. But for me to create a gash like that in the bottom was impossible, as I would've had to have had a similar mark as well as the fact that my sideview mirror would've had to snap off first before I could've gotten close enough to even make that mark. As well as the fact that it would've made a /huge/ noise, I would've felt something much more dramatic /and/ the van was already beat up as is (making me assume that that was there well before I ever showed up). Seeing where the mark that my car had made on their van makes me think that they slowly careened into me because I was in their blind spot and assumed that there was no one there, instead of looking (it's right along the right-hand side of the vehicle, about 3 feet away from the side window on a chevy-like van without windows on the sides or back).

They keep exclaiming, "Give us 200 dollars! Give us 200 dollars!" to which I continually respond, "I don't have 200 dollars. I only have fifteen bucks. We can call the police and have insurance work this out." They reply, "No! No! It will take forever and they will blame us (plus something about the NYPD police being busy with some weird non-existant dramatic situations) and we will be late for work! Plus your insurance will go way up! It will go way way up! We have to go connect the electricity for a women to save her life!" I just cannot imagine that anyone would hire these two guys, as they look totally unprofessional to save their life. While what they said made no sense, what I got from it was there was some sort of life-support system, for which they would be riding in an ambulance or some sort of professional vehicle, not a beat up, unmarked blue van. This goes on several times, and then they stand around being pouty (best word to describe it), while I stand there staring at them. Finally one of them relents and says, "Ok. Give me what you got." and so I give him fifteen bucks. While I regret ever mentioning the fact that I even had fifteen bucks, I figure considering the worst case scenario was getting knocked unconcious and thrown in the van, this seemed like a pretty good deal. So I recorded down their license plate number and drove off.

The fact that didn't want to call the police, even though their employer would supposedly would kill them and they were willing to compromise with me also added to the fact that I didn't believe their story. Seeing that I offered to involve the police and have insurance take care of it (something that wasn't fiscally their problem as employees of the company), I think it might have actually been their fault and I don't feel guilty for what happened.

I nearly went insane on the ride home, it was pretty bad; I came into the house hysterical and started screaming in a voice that wasn't my own. But that was due to the three hours, plus the accident, the being an hour late for work and trying to burn Lagusta's cds (which I just realized I still have--it seemed important at the time), getting lost and that every place I went I hit a wall of traffic (I jumped on and off about five different highways in an attempt to avoid traffic). The talk with my uncle had been primarily about healing and coming to terms with my mother/how to come to terms with my life and so I was feeling very vulnerable and exposed and this was just too much.

Here is a brief explanation of the "pulling the race card" rant:
This happens in New Orleans a lot (because of the fact that there aren't many poor people, nor many colored people in Fairfield), I find myself several times a year in a position where a rather affluent looking black person comes up to me and gives me some sob story about their kids needing food or the fact that their boyfriend beats them up and prostitutes them out. I do give them money, but it's pretty fucking awful and apparent that it's a lie when they're asking you for 11 dollars to get a taxi and you're taking the $1.25 streetcar, or they're in designer clothes and carrying bottles of beer in their hands. Juxtaposed to an actual homeless person who is sleeping/living on the sidewalk, the manner, presentation and storyline of these people appears very fabricated. It feels pretty fucking awful to know more likely than not that these people are thinking, "Oh, there's a rich little white girl, I'll scam that bitch, that fucking whitey." and you're thinking, "God, I know this person is lying, but what if they aren't? I don't need this money as much as they might actually need it, and I'd rather do the right thing and be fucked over than do the wrong thing and really not help someone who needs it." Today, it was very obvious that I looked like some rich white girl who just carries around 200 dollars, because when I said, "Look, I don't have 200 dollars on me," they just gave me this look like, "What, white girl? Why don't you have 200 dollars?" And maybe I'm assuming wrong, but it's just too much of a trend and it's not helping anything. I do realize that 99% of people aren't this way, but it makes me sick to know that I participate in this cyclic, hostile con-artistry. And what can I say to it? "I know you think I'm some rich white girl who enjoys abusing you and other minorities. You think wouldn't it be great to scam me for some money, but it isn't really helping you or me; the petty cash you'll get today isn't going to make your life better in the end, it only increases hostility from both sides and how can we expect to end racism when we can't even be honest with each other on a personal level?" Yeah, that'll fly.

You can obviously suggest how to handle these situations, as it happens enough to me to need a good way to approach it.

Posted by jay at September 22, 2005 10:00 PM